Years ago, I dated a Lithuanian-American girl. While the relationship only lasted a few months, it left me with a lot of respect for her culture and cuisine. Additionally, I ended up with this fantastic recipe for Medaus Krupnikas. Basically a spiced-honey liqueur, it has an amazing depth and complexity of flavor. Basically, it tastes like Christmas in a bottle.
I've since discovered Krupnikas (or Krupnik, to use the Polish version) in liquor stores, but it never seems to have the same richness as this recipe. Enjoy!
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
10 whole allspice berries
3 sticks cinnamon
1 vanilla bean, split
A 4" piece of ginger, cut into 1/2" pieces
10 cardamom seeds
1/2 nutmeg seed
3 strips orange rind
3 strips lemon rind
A pinch of saffron
4 cups water
2 lbs. honey (you can use clover, but I like a richer flavor, like wildflower)
4 cups 190-proof grain alcohol
Crack the cardamom seeds and nutmeg. Boil them, along with all the other spices and rind strips, until the liquid is reduced by half. Strain out spices and set aside.
Bring the honey to a boil. Remove from heat and skim off foam. Pour the spice liquid into the honey and remove from heat. Move it far from the stove.
Slowly add alcohol. When finished, cover and return to low heat. Heat for 15 minutes, being careful to keep it from boiling or even simmering. Remove from heat and allow to sit overnight. In the morning, filter it through coffee filters and bottle.
Be sure to use multiple filters, as the krupnikas will probably clog them fairly quickly. Enjoy!
Krupnikas - The Taste of Christmas, and a Heck of a Buzz
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